A bill which would allow Missourians to vote early, but require photo identification to vote, has passed the House and moved on to the Senate, but only after Democrats harshly criticize the measure.
Democrats like the idea of a four-day period in which Missourians can cast a no-excuse absentee ballot, but oppose voter photo ID. Democrat John Burnett of Kansas City accuses Republicans of trying to suppress the vote of those without photo identification.
“And, what a surprise, Mr. Speaker, those people are by and large the elderly, the disabled and the least educated and the least able to provide these kinds of ID,” Burnett tells colleagues during debate. “And guess what, Mr. Speaker, they are overwhelmingly Democrat.”
Sponsor John Diehl, a Republican from Town and Country, denies the charge. He says provisions call for those without photo ID to be provided one. Diehl says a “No” vote is a vote to say it’s OK to vote using a utility bill, a bank statement or a check, which he contends is a recipe for voter fraud.
“If you want to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat, I would encourage you to vote ‘Yes’ on this bill,” Diehl responds.
HB 1966 passes on an 86-70 vote.
The House also has approved a constitutional amendment that would place a voter photo ID requirement in the constitution to avoid a court challenge. If the legislature approves HJR 64, it would go to a vote of the people. The Missouri Supreme Court struck down a voter photo ID requirement in 2006.